HBG: 'Evaluation of Boskalis bid involves studying alternatives'

22 May 2001 17:02 - Royal BAM Group nv

Rijswijk, the Netherlands – The Supervisory Board and the Board of Management of HBG, Hollandsche Beton Groep nv, have been considering the bid made by Boskalis for group company HAM on 7 May.

Based on this consultation they are of the opinion that the bid should be evaluated in the light of all possible alternatives and options for achieving consolidation in the dredging industry.

Mr C.J.A. Reigersman, President of the Board of Management, will accordingly be telling the General Meeting of Shareholders this afternoon that HBG will be studying all the other alternatives within the framework of the recently revised Group strategy, before formulating a definitive position concerning the bid.

HBG has called in Lazard Frères and ABN AMRO Bank as financial advisers to evaluate all the commercial and financial aspects of the bid and possible alternatives.

Based on an initial analysis of the terms offered by Boskalis, HBG has concluded that the bid is in fact approximately NLG 300 million lower than the amount of NLG 1.25 billion publicly announced by Boskalis. This is connected with the conditions stipulated by Boskalis with respect to the HAM balance sheet and the demand that the transaction should include HAM’s operating result for 2000.

HBG essentially believes consolidation in the dredging industry to be desirable. Further increase in scale is important to continue producing acceptable returns in the future on the substantial investments being made in new equipment. The strategic plan for the Group that was drawn up by the Board of Management in September 2000 assumes further growth and development of the dredging activities, with HBG playing a prominent role in the sector if possible – not least because of the Group’s excellent track record in dredging.

The Board of Management last week had an intensive exchange of views with the Central Employee Council, the HAM employee council and HAM management. The Central Employee Council has unasked advised negatively with regard to the bid. Management and employee council of HAM are unanimous in their opposition to the Boskalis bid. Employees and management do, however, acknowledge that the interests of shareholders also have to be considered. The Board of Management appreciates and respects the loyalty and commitment demonstrated by the workforce and the management and will take account of this in arriving at a decision.

As soon as HBG has formulated a definite position concerning the bid, the Group will be issuing a press release containing its decision.

For further information, please contact:

Arno C. Pronk at HBG Public Relations, telephone +31 70 3722121.